Redshirt freshman Jalen Bussey has become a source of instant offense in the backfield.
You were able to use the four- game rule to your advantage. How much did having
that availability help your development?
I think it helped a lot. Being able to use the four games, I played in a few of them and just was learning the system and just becoming confident in it. I’d say that that’s what helped me grow and has helped me get to where I am now.
Were there any advantages to having the longer layoff in the fall to prepare for the spring season?
In the fall, we were able to get in the weight room more, put more muscle mass on my body. The aim was so that I could last the whole season this spring. In practice, we got to take more reps and learned more about the system. That is where I think the fall was a good thing for us.
There has been a lot of turnover on the roster. How much accountability have you taken to take a big step forward both on and off the field for this team?
Being young and having to step into a leadership role wasn’t ideal. But you got to make the best of the situation. We couldn’t let our position group or team like die off because we had guys leave. Being able to step up early on was good, but I also want to make my teammates better too.
How has the running back group come together throughout this transition?
With me and Kobe [Johnson] being the oldest we kind of took the lead a bit, but we all lean on each other. Dom’s [Gonnella] doing a great job providing valuable snaps in place for us. It wasn’t ideal that we had stuff go down but we always have that ‘next man up’ mentality.
What has worked right for you guys on the ground so far this spring?
Everybody is buying in and trusting in the process. Our o-line is doing a great job getting people moved at the line of scrimmage, fullbacks are doing a great job kicking out making great key blocks and then we’re trusting our tracks as running backs. We are trying to stay true to our keys of being inside the hip or knowing whom we’re supposed to be reading.
How do you want to continue to improve beyond this season?
I want to get better with receiving and being a receiving back. I’d like to see myself in positions where I can be in the slot. Us being versatile as a group and being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, run routes and have teams defend us all. That’s definitely something I want to be better at.
Where do you think your biggest strength lies on the field?
I’d say having that big play- ability. Being able to make people miss and taking pride in that. I take pride in being a little bit of a smaller back. You want to make people miss so you can avoid the one-on-one big hits. Being able to make people miss has been a strong suit. I’m always on the ladders trying to get my feet right so I can make quick cuts and everything.
Hometown: Brandon, Fla.